The 7 Main Types of Media Writing Explained

Journalism helps to explain the events that impact our lives and is developed in a number of forms and styles. Each style uses different techniques and involves writing for different purposes and audiences.

Whether you’re considering journalism as a side hustle (yes, you can become a freelance journalist) or a full-time job, it’s important to consider what type of journalism interests you.

Media writing encompasses many different styles and formats each serving a unique purpose. The type of media writing depends largely on the intended audience and goal. For example a press release has a very different style and purpose than a feature article.

Knowing the distinctions helps writers tailor their work appropriately Below are explanations of the seven main types of media writing and how they are best utilized

1. News Writing

News writing is the foundation of journalism, delivering factual and timely information to the public. The primary goals are to quickly inform readers about events impacting their lives or interests.

Key qualities of news writing include:

  • Objectivity – News reports just the facts without bias.

  • Timeliness – News provides information about recent/current events.

  • Clarity – Complex information is relayed in a way everyday readers can easily understand.

  • Accuracy – All facts and details are meticulously verified.

  • Brevity – News writing is concise and to-the-point.

The most common types of news articles include:

  • News reports – The classic “who, what, when, where, why” on breaking events.

  • Obituaries – Reporting on someone’s death.

  • Features – More creative news stories focused on people, places, events.

  • Editorials – Opinion-based articles on issues written by publication staff.

  • Investigative – In-depth news requiring extensive research.

  • Interpretative – Provides context/analysis on complex news.

2. Feature Writing

While news writing focuses on hard facts, feature writing takes a more creative, narrative approach to captivating audiences. Features go beyond surface details to deliver an engaging story.

Common types of feature articles include:

  • Personality profiles – Providing background on noteworthy people.

  • Human interest – Heartwarming, inspirational stories about everyday people.

  • How-to – Instructions on a process/activity.

  • Travel – Transporting readers to interesting places.

  • Health/science – Make medical/technical topics accessible.

  • Reviews – Critical analysis of restaurants, movies, products, etc.

Features allow more flexibility with tone and structure. Writers use vivid details, humor, suspense, and other literary techniques to craft compelling stories. Features can inspire, educate, entertain and more.

3. Opinion Writing

The goal of opinion writing is to sway readers towards a certain viewpoint. Writers use logic, emotion, and credibility to build persuasive arguments.

Types of opinion pieces include:

  • Newspaper editorials – Unsigned articles reflecting a publication’s stances.

  • Op-eds – “Opposite the editorial page” pieces by guest contributors.

  • Blogs – Informal web articles presenting a writer’s views.

  • Reviews – Opinions on products, restaurants, movies, etc.

  • Advice columns – Guidance and recommendations on reader issues.

Unlike news, opinion writing presents a distinct point-of-view. But arguments must still rely on accurate evidence and sound reasoning. Opposing views are sometimes presented to bolster credibility.

4. Editorial Writing

Not to be confused with op-eds, editorials are opinion pieces written by a publication’s editorial board. They reflect the official stance of a newspaper or magazine on a given issue.

Editorials are unsigned articles typically found on a publication’s editorial page. Well-researched facts strengthen the credibility of the opinions expressed.

Common editorial article types include:

  • Endorsements – Recommending candidates for political office.

  • Community issues – Weighing in on local controversies.

  • Government policy – Critiquing laws and regulations.

  • Current events – Persuasive takes on breaking news.

  • Institutional issues – Columns on a publication’s own affairs.

While individual columnists present their personal views in op-eds, editorials represent the collective voice of an outlet’s leadership.

5. Press Releases

Press releases are used by organizations to announce news to media outlets. The goal is to get journalists to report on the event, product, or service highlighted.

Key qualities of effective press releases include:

  • Newsworthy information – Something timely, relevant, interesting to readers.

  • Clear, direct writing – Easy for busy media pros to quickly digest.

  • Multimedia – Photos, videos, infographics help pitch the story.

  • Upbeat tone – Enthusiasm generates interest.

  • Call to action – Provides contacts, links, hashtags, etc.

Press releases follow a standard format beginning with a headline and contact details. A concise lead paragraph summarizes the news. Additional facts and quotes elaborate in descending order of importance.

6. Copywriting

Copywriting promotes products, services, or ideas through persuasive writing. Marketing copy aims to generate leads, sales, sign-ups, donations or other conversions.

Types of copy include:

  • Website content – Articles, product descriptions, landing pages.

  • Advertisements – Display/search ads, commercials, billboards.

  • Direct mail – Sales letters, postcards, brochures.

  • Social media posts – Engaging updates tailored to each platform.

  • Emails – Promotional messages, newsletters, appeals.

Copy often utilizes research on target audiences. Writers highlight specific features, benefits, offers and other relevant information. An actionable call-to-action (CTA) converts readers.

7. Scriptwriting

Scriptwriting conveys stories and messages through dialog and stage direction. Scripts serve as blueprints for video, theater, audio and other performances.

Types include:

  • Screenplays – Directions for movie scenes, camera work.

  • Teleplays – Formatting for television shows.

  • Radio scripts – Dialog and instructions tailored to audio.

  • Speechwriting – Effective text for presentations and remarks.

  • Playwriting – Bringing plays to life through precise narrative.

Scriptwriters utilize visual language, economical dialog, and tight, engaging pacing. Formatting uses standard industry conventions. Scripts bring words to life on screens, stages and airwaves.

Key Takeaways

  • News writing objectively informs readers about timely events shaping the world.

  • Features use immersive storytelling to engage audiences with narratives about people, places, events and more.

  • Opinion writing persuades through reasoned arguments and authoritative support.

  • Editorials express a media outlet’s official stance on issues.

  • Press releases promote organizational news through newsworthy engagement.

  • Copywriting uses compelling messaging to influence consumer decisions.

  • Scripts provide dialogue and stage directions to guide productions.

Understanding the nuances helps writers craft more targeted work. Audiences have distinct expectations from news reports, features, op-eds, advertising, scripts, and other types of media writing. Adapting tone, style and format to each genre is key to effectively achieving intended goals.

With so many options, there are excellent opportunities for writers in every media sector. Developing expertise across multiple disciplines allows versatility in pursuing a dynamic, fulfilling career. Whether objectively reporting facts, spinning lyrical yarns, penning poetic monologues, or any type in between – quality media writing has the power to inform perspectives, shape opinions and impact lives.

what are the types of media writing

05 types of journalism (by coverage)

There are five different types of journalistic coverage:

News journalism is straightforward. Facts are relayed without significant artistic flourishes, analysis, or interpretation.

A typical news story consists of a headline and enough text to completely explain the situation or event to the reader, but nothing beyond that.

News stories lack the depth of feature stories and the questioning approach of investigative stories. Rather, they recount events and relay facts and information in a bare-bones, accurate, and unbiased manner.

Examples of news beats you may be assigned to as a journalist include:

  • Business (including finance and market news)
  • Crime
  • Entertainment
  • Lifestyle (including cooking, gardening, travel, home, or DIY)
  • National, regional, and local or community news
  • Politics
  • Society
  • Sports
  • Technology
  • Weather

Investigative journalism aims to uncover the truth about a particular subject, person, or event. While investigative journalism is based on the basic principles underlying all journalism—verification and accurate presentation of facts—investigative reporters must often work with uncooperative or recalcitrant sources who do not wish to divulge information.

Renowned investigative journalism can upend major institutions and significantly influence public opinion.

Examples of famous investigative journalism include:

  • Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein’s uncovering of the Watergate scandal
  • Ronan Farrow’s investigation into allegations surrounding Harvey Weinstein
  • Murray Marder’s hounding of Sen. Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s
  • Upton Sinclair exposing conditions in Chicago’s meatpacking plants

Reviews are partly opinion and partly fact-based. A review needs to accomplish two things:

  • Accurately describe or identify the subject being reviewed
  • Provide an intelligent and informed opinion on the subject, based on research and experience

Review journalism is usually associated with dining, entertainment (movies, TV, stage, etc.), and books. However, in recent years, major news outlets like The New York Times (in their Wirecutter section) and Forbes (in their Advisor section) have made product review journalism a major part of their business efforts.

Coverage of products from financial to physical now makes up the bulk of review work.

Columnists interpret events or issues or write about their own personal experiences or thoughts. They usually specialize in a particular subject area or news beat, such as politics, technology, lifestyle, or any of the others listed in the “News” section above.

Columns are usually published weekly and are heavily influenced by the personality of the author, allowing them to write about subjects in a personal style. That style could be humorous, sarcastic, angry, analytical, or something else—it depends on what their audience prefers.

If you’re interested in becoming a columnist, it’s important for you to develop your own voice that will be recognizable to your readership.

Examples of famous columnists include:

  • Thomas Friedman
  • David Brooks
  • Maureen Dowd
  • Paul Krugman

A feature, the lengthiest type of journalistic story, is meant to provide an in-depth look and offer a previously unseen perspective on an event, issue, or person.

To write a feature, a journalist must explore their chosen topic by conducting interviews with experts or the key people involved.

Feature writing commonly wins prestigious awards when it manages to achieve its goals. For a clear picture of what good feature journalism looks like, check out this list of Pulitzer Prize-winning feature article journalism dating all the way back to 1979.

Data journalism is emerging as a new and important part of the journalistic landscape

Data journalism (where vast reams of data are analyzed, organized, or simply displayed to weave engaging narratives) is an increasingly important part of feature writing. Some also consider it a new type of journalism entirely.

Types of Media: Print, Broadcast and New Media

What are the different types of writing for media?

Take a look at eight types of writing for media examples: 1. News writing News writing is a particular style of prose that is used to report on the basic facts of a particular event. Whether for newspaper publication or broadcasting, it answers the five Ws in the first few sentences or lines.

What is media writing?

Media writing is the process of writing content for mass publication through particular media outlets. This may include newspapers, magazines, popular websites, blogs, social media and other publications. Many professionals from all backgrounds use media writing, but they also require specific skills to communicate effectively with readers.

Who uses media writing?

Most writers who work for publications or content creation platforms may use media writing. Professionals such as journalists, digital marketers, bloggers, and other content creators often use media writing in their careers. Media writing’s many forms allow writers of various backgrounds and intentions to create content for publication.

What skills do media writers need?

Many professionals from all backgrounds use media writing, but they also require specific skills to communicate effectively with readers. This type of writing includes specific rules and categories that provide audiences with specific types of information.

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